Welcome to the Playing In Traffic Resources section, a curated list of the tools and resources I strongly recommend for building and optimizing your business. I hope they help you on your journey to growing your business! I have tested every recommendation on this page. Many of the resources listed here are important to running my business.
Before getting started with the resources I know and trust, I want you to know that some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you.
Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
AppSumo is a daily deals website for digitally distributed goods and online services. They cater to the entrepreneurial crowd and feature some awesome deals that are available at a steep discount for a short amount of time. I’ve made more than a few purchases over the years and always find myself sharing their offerings on Facebook.
KWFinder is one of the easiest-to-use keyword research tools. It’s moderately priced, with a limited number of free searches, and does a good job at ranking keyword difficulty (how hard it is to rank in google for a search term).
SEMrush is high-end keyword discovery tool that allows you to perform a limited number of free queries daily. Professional plans are available starting at $69.95/month. Try SEMrush for free through this link: SEMrush Free 7 Day Trial
Google Drive and Google Docs combine to form an online document repository. You can edit word documents or excel spreadsheets right in your browser and all files are safely secured in the cloud. Best of all, your documents get auto-saved, so if you close your window by mistake, you won’t lose all of your work.
Long Tail Pro is a keyword research and discovery tool. The software can be purchased on a subscription basis, starting at $37/month. Try Long Tail Pro for free through this link: Long Tail Pro Free 7 Day Trial
GetResponse provides email marketing and autoresponder services. I recommend them because they make the process easy if you’ve never worked with an email campaign before.
Trello is a tool that organizes your projects into boards. You can break down thoughts and to-dos into different categories. It’s a mix between a to-do list and a mind map. I use Trello for every new project I start.
SEO PowerSuite is a new set of tools that I recently started using. It’s a suite of 4 programs that makes it easy to track your rankings, analyze your backlinks, research keywords, analyze your competition and audit your site for on-page SEO issues.
Upwork, formerly Elance-oDesk, is a global freelancing platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely. You can find everything from programmers and graphic designers to virtual assistants and writers at UpWork.
I recommend DreamHost for your web hosting needs. I have been using them for years and I love the fact that you can start with a beginner hosting plan and easily upgrade as your traffic grows.
You can start off on their shared hosting plan and scale up to either VPS or DreamPress (It’s literally a click of a button).
They also feature one-click WordPress installs to make things fool-proof.
Elegant Themes are the creators of the Divi theme, which I use on this site.
If you’re looking for more advanced functionality or if you’re looking to build other types of niche sites, I recommend ThemeForest.net. You can find WordPress themes in various niches with a multitude of functions. Prices start at just $3, but expect to pay $45 and up for a good theme with a solid support history.
AdRotate allows you rotate ads shown on your site. This way you can split-test different networks or affiliate products and find what converts best for your site.
Autoptimize is a free plugin that will speed up your WordPress site. This may be overly technical, but it can aggregate, minify and cache scripts and styles, injects CSS in the page head by default and can move and defer scripts to the footer. It also minifies the HTML code itself, making your page really lightweight.
Bloom is an email optin plugin that is part of Elegant Themes. It allows you to place forms on your site to capture email addresses of your visitors.
Divi Builder is also a part of Elegant Themes. This plugin is a visual drag and drop page builder. There’s a slight learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it lets you build pages with amazing structure and layouts.
Facebook Comment Box
Facebook Comments Box lets you replace the default WordPress commenting system, which requires users to register, with a comment box that allows facebook users to comment without logging in.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
MonsterInsights makes the best and easiest plugin for getting the Google Analytics tracking code onto your website. This allows you to see where your visitors are coming from and what they’re doing once they get to your site.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer
Images are huge resource hogs and could be slowing down your site. ShortPixel Image Optimizer fixes that and optimizes your images to improve your site load time.
The Ultimate Nofollow plugin is the easiest way to set your outbound links.
UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore
UpdraftPlus lets you backup your website and have it perform future backups on a set interval. It will also backup your site to cloud storage like DropBox.
Yoast SEO will assess your page for SEO factors before you publish.
The Solopreneur Hour
The Solopreneur Hour Podcast is a mix of conversations with entrepreneurs, and free coaching sessions where Michael O’Neal answers audience questions. While not all episodes are filled with actionable content, they are always filled with inspiration (and a bunch of fun stories).
My Favorite Episodes:
Episode 550: How To Build Massive Community, w/Jill & Josh Stanton, Kate Erickson, & John Lee Dumas
Episode 556: Noah Kagen of AppSumo is Cool, Fun, and Funny. And Wicked Smaht, Dude.
Episode 558: DATA. The SECRET Sauce of Success, with Andy Crestodina
Episode 570: How to Grow Your YouTube Audience & Beginner SEO Hacks, with Brian Dean
Episode 574: How To Give Your Audience EXACTLY What They Want, with Ryan Levesque
Smart Passive Income
The Smart Passive Income Podcast features Pat Flynn sharing his online business and blogging strategies, income sources and marketing tips and tricks. Each episode is a conversation with an expert in the episode’s topic and are usually filled with actionable content.
My Favorite Episodes:
Episode 243: How to Create Your Life Vision Plan with Michael Hyatt
Episode 249: Pivoting: How, When, & Why to Do It with Jenny Blake
Episode 253: How to Build Relationships with Influencers with Selena Soo
Episode 261: SEO Self-Audit Checklist – An Interview with My Recent SEO Hire
The Blog Millionaire
The Blog Millionaire Podcast is chock full of actionable content. Brandon Gaille takes you through the secret strategies he uses to grow and monetize his blog.
My Favorite Episodes:
Episode 2: The Perfect Blog Post Title Formula
Episode 6: Ideal Blog Post Length
Episode 21: A 10x Content Repurposing Tactic that is Simply Amazing
Episode 28: How to Get Millions of Visitors to Your Blog
Episode 30: 25 Ways to Decrease Your Bounce Rate
Niche Pursuits is one of the best resources for building a niche website. Spencer Haws gives you a straightforward approach to content marketing for niche topics.
My Favorite Episodes:
Episode 73: How to Make a Successful Website Using Long Tail Keywords: A Discussion of 6 Real Life Examples
Episode 100: I Quit My Job 5 Years Ago and Learned These Business Lessons
Episode 92: How to Find Low Competition Keywords
Episode 102: Basic Link Building Strategies for Your Niche Website
Episode 124: Niche Site Beginner to Expert
Procrastinate On Purpose
In Procrastinate On Purpose, Rory Vaden lays out his blueprint for getting things done, all without feeling guilty about the stuff you put off.
In Zag,Marty Neumeier gives you a crash course in marketing. When everyone is busy zigging, you should zag.
In Crush It!, Gary Vaynerchuk motivates you to take action and cash in on your passion.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
In Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki teaches you the basics of business and shows you how to do things the right way.
In Smartcuts, Shane Snow tells you how to take smart actions that deliver results quickly.
In Profit First, Mike Michalowicz gives you an easy to follow money plan, so that you’re sure to put your profits first, while having your finances in proper order.
Level Up Your Life
In Level Up Your Life, Steve Kamb teaches you to use your favorite video games, movies or books as inspiration to improve your life. He turns the process into a game.